The Government of Liberia (GOL) through the Ministry of Labor has announced that it will launch a five-year National Action Plan in the fight against the trafficking of human beings within the Republic. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is expected to officially launch the plan on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at the Monrovia City Hall.
Labor Minister, F. Juah Lawson making announcement yesterday at the regular weekly Press Briefing at the Ministry of Information said senior officials of Government, members of the diplomatic corps, the UN System, Civil Society, the Liberia Labor Congress (LLC), the Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC), National Traditional Council among other dignitaries will be in attendance.
Minister Lawson, giving a background of the National Action Plan said emerging from a 14-year civil crisis complemented by the gradual restoration of the rule of law, human trafficking, among other Transnational Organized Crimes, has become a major post-conflict national security challenge.
Responding to this situation, and recognizing the significance of putting in place the requisite legal framework to deal with matters of human trafficking in Liberia, the Transitional Legislative Assembly of the National Transitional Government in 2005 passed an act that banned and criminalized all forms of human trafficking in Liberia.
She further noted that the Act specifically established that Trafficking In Persons (TIP) shall mean “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of a person by means of the threat or use of force or other means of coercion, or by abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability, or by the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation”.
She also averred that recently as April, 2013 the Government of Liberia also amended the Penal Law regarding Extortion, Environmental Crimes, Trafficking in Human Beings and Illicit Migrant Smuggling, thereby re-enforcing the legal framework responsible for dealing with these inter-related international organized crime.
The Labor Minister stressed that trafficking of Human Beings and illicit migrant smuggling are usually committed simultaneously.
She said, “The Ministry of Labor as head of the Anti-Human Trafficking Task force is mandated by the President to lead and direct the national fight against this heinous crime in Liberia. It works in close collaboration with line ministries and agencies of Government including the Ministry of Justice as co-chair, in leading this campaign.”
Minister Lawson disclosed that a National Action Plan was drafted by the Taskforce and presented to the Cabinet in October, 2013 which was endorsed as Government’s road map in the fight against Trafficking in Persons.
“Accordingly, this National Action Plan against human trafficking represents an illustration of commitment on the part of Government to match other prior actions it has taken in meeting basic national benchmarks and international obligations in the campaign against TIP in Liberia,” the Labor Minister said.
She further said the Plan encompasses clearly defined sets of program strategies aimed at concretely dealing with all matters of human trafficking within the bailiwick of Liberia in a much coordinated and sustained manner.
We look forward to a safe and secured global environment in which the dignity of the world’s women and children/ vulnerables would be respected and protected.
“The Five-year National Action Plan signifies Government of Liberia zero tolerance stance in the fight against all forms of human trafficking in Liberia. As a program strategy put in place to Sheppard the national campaign against the Trafficking in Persons (TIP), the plan is a direct response to the local, regional and international realities, demanding for such a broad program strategy as a major requirement,” Minister Lawson said.
She further said by this National Action Plan, Government’s determination to combat human trafficking in Liberia in a well-coordinated, self-sustaining and proactive way cannot be over emphasized noting that the absence of such an Action Plan over the years, largely relegated Government’s efforts in the fight against TIP to one of tailing and responding to events rather than acting proactively.